Thursday, January 4, 2018

January 4, 2018. Day 1. Turned out to be an aborted test run.

The way I work is that I like to scope out any potential playable race the night before. When I say playable, i mean from a bridgejumper perspective. That means there will be significant spread in either the place or show pool, and I have some quick opinion of the favorite--or jumper horse. I either hate him, love him, or think I want to look harder and form an opinion. I also want a reasonably sized field. To go through 10 or 12 horses to find value other than the jumper horse is just not something I'm going to do and be time efficient. If I want to play a volume of jumper races, the way I want to do it, I have to be mindful of the amount of time it takes to do that. so, I forego the bigger fields. That is point 1. It's very much a part of how I exclude when I make my first pass through all the races. 


My first potential race is race 3 at Gulfstream. Right off the bat, the variables are there to make it a play.


Those are:


-7 horse field, including the jumper horse.


-a low ml (morning line) fave, 7-5, coupled with a low ml on the 2nd fave at 9-5. That tells me there will be win pressure competition for the jumper horse, if

she ends up a jumper horse. Thus, if they both race, its a lock I don't play this race on the jumper side, but find something to go against the top 2. That is a cardinal rule. Win pressure on the jumper horse is one of the best angles to beat that horse. If that horse has zero pressure. So point 2 is never play any jumper horse as a jumper when they have any legit win pressure. They are more likely to lose the ticket position in this scenario. 

My experience is that most jumper horses that get beat but don't fall down somewhere simply run very hard to win, and fade late when that doesn't work out, and completely cave. Of course caving is relative, and you need to pick the ones that can do something about that. If the balance are total no talents that wont take advantage, it becomes a no play race. That is rare, but it happens. Out of the 5 left to run, if they all run, there has to be at least one with some talent to be there if the fave coughs it up. Relative strength of "the rest" is another very important factor or point when you think about making a play. 


The other thing I like about this race--at first glance, is that there are two very low ml horses. That means if one scratches out, but the other stays, its a lock that horse is a jumper horse in the show pool if there are still enough left to leave that pool up. I wont get to know that until the early scratches come out. I have to handicap based on the likelihood they both run. So, I do that.

I start out just rating the horses, so I'm prepared either way. It's an earlier race so I want to get it out of the way. Some of the later ones, I might exclude early, but wont go over them thoroughly until later, so I don't waste time on horses that wont run, or if it changes to a clear no play race. I have 18 on tap to start with, so I don't want to waste any time I can avoid wasting.

There are other variables I noticed early, but I will go over them in my assessment of the field. They are somewhat constants anyway that I use repeatedly, but they aren't things I use early as exclusionary factors on the first pass through.


Gulfstream race 3 is my first race to potentially play as mentioned above. It might be cold out and tracks are cancelling, but Gulfstream is fairly safe from that chance, Being almost as far south as you can get on the map. post time is 1:30, so, I want to be ready early for this one.


Here is the field, top to bottom, by ml odds. 


7  SIERRA LEONA

is the 7-5 ml fave. 3yo chestnut filly by Point Given. Its not a hard and fast rule, but I like to go against chestnuts, against fillies and against inexperienced horses that have shown early, but not terribly impressive results. As for the chestnut part, its a horse person thing. Generally, chestnut's bleed more from their lungs, and they have bad feet and legs, and thus, are prone to lameness, especially the more they run. Its a weak angle, but it is something to think about when you are making plays. Everything matters. I wrote a blog about that a year ago, and its valid. Every little angle matters. That is one of them. For me anyway. 

 I can tell you when I trained, just about every chestnut I had or was stabled with was a bleeder and had suspect or terrible legs. Watching the actual horse run in replays can give me some insight to the particular horse, as does looking at the breeding and noticing anything about their ancestors. That info is out there. Who bled, who was lame, specific problems a dam or sire or their ancestors had. Its just more info. more things that COULD matter. Or not matter at all in this case. That is my job as the handicapper to figure out. I cant see the horse up close, and certainly not one at Gulfstream, so, I have to work with what I have to work with. I can watch them in the walking ring, and as they gallop on the track, etc,,,pre race. You work with the tools you have race to race.


She goes for trainer Chad Summers, who I dont know of at all. I am a standardbred guy by trade and experience, and while I know of many trainers in T- breds, I don't know them all. So, that is one strike against my skill set. Its not a variable I get to work with here. A quick look tells me he has had the filly for all of her starts, of which there were 3 to date. 

He started her out in a maiden claimer, which tells me he is somewhat realistic in how he approaches racing them. Many start in a MSW no matter where they think the horse fits. That race was Oct. 20th, at 6f, and it was a short 5 horse field, with no real long odds horses. She was the 2-1 2nd choice. The lukewarm 8-5 fave sat 5th and last, made a mild bid, never went forward and was a well beaten dead last. So, it was a short and weak field. She did run well, stalked early, made a run at the leader and ground her down, then held off another, but she was all out and the 2nd place finisher was coming to her and passes her if they go another half furlong. That is not the type of bridgejumper horse you lean on, but go against as they race on and try better. You will note if you watch closely that the jock used the right handed whip to get her to go forward, but switched to left handed when he needed to pass the leader, as this filly was running in. When she got by, he went back to right handed. That is a strike against her. If she is already running in her first start, against a short field of maiden claimers, she is likely to not wear well. Not for sure, but its more probable than not.

She came back 20 days later, on November 9th, same distance, but tougher company in an optional 50k claimer, a much tougher bunch. She didn't take the tag, but she was a 29-1 longshot. It was a 7 horse field, and she was the 2nd longest shot. She broke near the back, stayed near there, was out of run at the top of the stretch, under heavy whipping, and beat one horse who was basically eased up. A no factor 6th and she looked bad doing it. Her first two starts were Gulfstream Park West, which used to be called Calder for ages. She shifts to what is now Gulfstream and always has been. I don't see that as significant in this case, although I'm not an expert on these tracks.

5 weeks later, December 14th, back to Gulfstream, this time back in a claimer. She was 10-1 ml, but as can happen, a short priced likely fave was scratched, and she went off a clear 9-5 2nd choice. She won the race, and it was a field of 6 with the scratch of the likely fave, going longer this time at a full mile. Once again, she ran midpack, stalked but sat patient, made a move on the turn, cleared the tired leader who was the chalk, then drew off to win easy, but didn't look like she was running much or had much left herself. As well, the rider switched hands with the whip in exactly the manner he did in her maiden breaking score. The racetrack announcer certainly called her right. She runs at a grind away pace, but once asked, she has very little run if you have to move her earlier as he did in the first start she made. Behind her, there were some very poor runners who likely will be taking big class drops.

Today she runs right back to that tag, that distance, and basically its the same conditions as last time. I feel her win was deceptive to the bettors, and she is vulnerable to go backwards. That is how I intend to play it. So, I move forward with the balance of the field, to see what I have to work with against her. If I'm wrong and she beats me so be it. If this is a jumper race, which I'm not sure it is, I am on the other side and not jumping off her bridge. 7-5 ml suggests the line maker thinks the public are going to jump on her big time, even without a scratch of the 2nd ml fave. I will go with that assessment.


5 DRINKS ON ME 

is the 9-5 2nd ml choice. She is trained by Larry Rivelli, and him I do know of. In watching other tracks, it has been mentioned he races where they fit, where they can win, and he wins a very high rate. If he shows up, he is there to make money. My experience is that is exactly the case in races I've seen his horses run in. As with any trainer, even the most successful, they don't win them all and not every horse runs huge. They are all beatable and you have to keep that in mind. She is a 3yo bay filly by Stay Thirsty, bred by Ken Ramsey and wife, but owned by another person. She is making her 3rd lifetime start, at her 3rd different track as is her trainers MO of finding a spot where the horse can win the most money, and comes off a maiden win her last start, not in a claimer. Clearly at first glance, she looks better on paper than the likely fave. Paper doesn't win races, so, I start there. Her first lifetime start was in a 40k maiden claimer at Keeneland, for the Ramseys and noted trainer Mike Maker. She went off a lukewarm 5-2 fave in an 8 horse field, and ran 4th. And changed hands after the race via a 40k claim.

 That is important. It was 7f, her first start, also a maiden claimer, but she didn't run well. She sat around 6th, behind a bunch of 5 who ran hard and with each other. When asked on the turn, she picked it up a bit, then fanned very wide, was under very heavy left handed urging, but never really went forward, and in fact, went left sharply when tired and almost ran into another. She was not impressive. But she changed hands to Rivelli, and you have to give her a chance to learn and also improve in his care.

Rivelli took her to Hawthorne 22 days later on November 10th, a track he races at a lot. She was in a MSW this time, and was going longer at 1 mile and 70 yards. She went off the 4-1 3rd choice, in a 7 horse field, with a clear even money favorite, and still on lasix. In the race, DRINKS ON ME ran right out of the gate, on the outside of the leader the entire way, but in a grinding style that appears to be her way of racing. That leader was the 5-2 2nd choice, who carried her all the way to the end, and was also another Rivelli runner. Both seemed well spotted. Rivelli got the win and 2nd money, and a nice quick return on the 40k claim. Once again though, she showed a tendancy to both hang in the stretch, and run in badly, which she did worse this time. The even money fave was 3rd, but was never involved and not close to the top 2. It was a relatively weak MSW field by Gulfstream standards. She appears to be a claimer, and Rivelli has figured that out. He took the win for MSW, but once a winner, she is a claimer either way on the move up.

Today she runs off 7 weeks, back in a claimer but this time in for 25k, and shortens up a tad from her winning effort, which seems like a good idea. I can see her, but I can also see her being vulnerable. I wouldn't use her as an option underneath the fave who I will go against. That leaves me with 5 others to choose from for 3 show spots if it plays out that way.


4 SAVANNAH ROXANNA 

is the 6-1 3rd ml choice. She ran against the likely fave in their last race, and was a well beaten, but decent enough 2nd in that one. She ran 8 times at 2, which is to many in my view, and is still going. That has got to take its toll eventually on a very young filly. She won start 6 in a maiden claimer at Woodbine for her current connections, going a mile and sixteenth in a maiden claimer. She is also a chestnut filly, by Shackleford, who seemed to want a shorter distance when he was on the Triple Crown trail and later. But he was a high class and game runner, and did well at Gulfstream as I recall also. She started very early, in mid May in a MSW, and was well beaten, as she was in her other MSW try. As she ran more, and in maiden claimers, she gradually improved with experience and distance added and got it done on October 4th at woodbine. 

A mile in a claimer seems about right for her if she gets the right trip. Gunning at the leader like she did last time isn't that trip. The question of how tired she may be getting is an issue, but I'm expecting odds here and that mitigates the risk she is raced out. I like that she ran hard last time, stayed running well right to the wire, and she is good at this distance. She is a contender for the win, and a decent play against a jumper horse as one of a few who could pick up pieces. She loses the top rider from last time to DRINKS ON ME.


1 CASUAL CARO

 is the 8-1 4th ml choice, a brown filly by UNITED STATES, who I have never heard of. I will look him up closer to post time. She comes out of the same race as the ml fave and 3rd choices, and had dead aim on a tired 

SAVANNAH ROXANNA but could not go by her. That was start 8 for a filly who started out in maiden claimers, has run only in claimers, and took the lone win there in start 5. She has been a bit player in 3 tries since that one, but a decent bit player type who we are looking for if the premise is to go against the top 2 choices. She has a 2nd and 3rd at this distance in those 3 starts, and ran on only 8 days rest last time, but gets the full 3 weeks here. She is playable as an option. Note her 2 worst efforts were on turf and she doesn't race on that here. Otherwise, when in for the right price and distance, and raced properly, she competes and contends, but might take time to get another win.


6 MISS LOTUS FLOWER,

 is a 3yo filly by Haynesfield. She won the maiden claimer on October 4th as the 30-1 longest shot on the board , but has been in deep since. To date, that is her only on the board finish in 7 starts. They have tried distances, different surfaces, and she even tried better horses. Nothing helped.  She raced this bunch on December 14th and was a well whipped 5th as the 40-1 longest shot on the board. She is hard to like in this spot. Nevertheless, I've learned not to discount this type when I don't like the faves a lot, so, I take a closer 2nd look at how she ran. She broke slowly, was well back last, in a gapped out field, never made any move, looked to have no run, and couldn't even pass a very spent front end horse who was walking home. She looks like a 5 claimer at Mountaineer, and I have to pass on her. She has limited ability and doesn't look to be improving. She is 12-1 ml, I'd expect to see 50-1 plus.


2 SHEZ A GREAT ONE 

is a 15-1 outsider with the same trainer as MISS LOTUS FLOWER. I guess the theory is two longshots with some chance to get some money somehow. This type of trainer just runs them and hopes the heavens are on his side that day. She makes her 3rd lifetime start, and her first was a maiden claimer at a mile on the turf, which she won. She moved up the ladder last time, and shortened slightly to 7.5 furlongs, but she stayed on turf and was 8th of 11 at 35-1. It was a bigger, and tougher field, she looked to have some run and try in the stretch. She goes back to a claimer here, switches to dirt, and gets a bit more distance in a shorter field where her stalking style can lay her close to a few who might want to stop in time for her to be viable. In her maiden win, she rocketed out to the lead, cut the entire mile and beat off the fave who challenged her much of the way, and won at 11-1. It was a solid effort. Her sire, TIZ THE ONE, ran only twice in his career, winning both early at 3, both at Gulfstream for trainer Chad Brown. He was a 375k yearling. This filly has some potential at this level and only 2 starts in.


5 BEAUTIFUL WIFE

 is a 2nd time starter in the US, but ran 4 times at Camarero in Puerto Rico. She won a MSW there and was not placed in a stakes race as well. She ran December 9th in a stakes race at 60-1 at this distance. Here she comes back dropped directly into a claimer, although she is still a maiden in this country. She is in a tough spot under those variables. She ran near the back, off the screen most of the way, and was never contentious, although it was her first start here and the track was super sloppy. She has to be considered viable with the unknowns in play. These types are dangerous.


Post script.


I had the two top faves pegged accurately. One was no good at all, while the other was lucky to hold 3rd. They both showed the lameness or soreness I thought I would see, and were grinders whose grinding didn't work with a slightly better class of horses. My viable contender for the win did win, as she did get the trip I thought she needed, while my unknown Puerto Rican horse ran well, and actually had the lead by taking a bold move mid race and finished well. My wild longshot acted up at the gate, and then had to be checked sharply mid race, and she gave up. She is on my radar for a future play, while the others were not good enough or good at all. I had most of it right here, but the odds and math wasn't in my favor, so, I made no play. Discipline is important, and I didn't get the value I was looking for. Such is life. 

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Gulfstream race 9 is my next race to play if...the fave races. At a 4-5 ml, its a certain bridgejump horse if it races. I will handicap it now, but not do the rest of the field until I see the changes and know this one is going to dance the dance. Without her, its a no play race, as the rest don't stand out in any way. Nevertheless, if she is 4-5 ml with these, she is short odds whenever she races next, so I have her scoped out whenever that is. Time still well spent and invested.


4 FLY SO HIGH

 is a bay 3yo filly by Malibu Moon, who her trainer Shug McGaughey is very familiar with, as he trained ORB, who is by that sire, and I'm sure others by him as well. She is owned by The Phipps Stable, who are his main clients and high end owners to say the least. She ships in from New York, where she ran 3rd at Aquaduct in her first lifetime start, then won a MSW at Belmont at today's distance on November 16th. In that race, she broke from the inside, ran up and took the lead before the quarter, was on an easy lead with no challengers, opened up at will on the turn, then coasted well ahead, widening out all the way to gap the entire field, while coasting. On paper and just on how she ran, she looks very tough for the bunch she will meet today, which is why she is 4-5 ml. However, that is why you watch the replays. She carries her head funny, and wants to run into the rail very noticably. I need to watch her first start to see if that is just how she runs, or else there is a problem I can take advantage of.

 In that October 9th race, there was a lot of stuff going on. First, she had the outside 12 post, loaded last, then backed out of the gate, went back in without much fuss, but while she did all that, another got ancy, laid down in the gate, got twisted around and then had to be scratched along with another beside her she probably kicked while she was thrashing around. When they all reloaded 5 minutes later, she left out, ran near the back, came along willingly along the outside, ducked between horses and finished a going forward 3rd at 6 furlongs. No surprise they ran her longer her next start and she started better. But, she also showed that tendency to run in, but not as bad as she did in her 2nd start. I see a progression of soreness. That leads me to make her a no play as a jumper play, but I will have to see if she runs and then look at the rest to find the value if it happens to go that way. She will draw a monster jumper if she races, no doubt about it. Probably 1-9 on the win also, and she can be played against in a double if you play that type of play. A quick glance tells me its a deep and talented field, so she can't be ordinary or have an off day and beat this bunch.


Post mortem.


She ran as expected,but her talent was too much for this bunch. The spread I expected for the show pool wasn't even close to being there, so it was a no play for me. I have followed Gulfstream in the past, and there were many jumpers, but today, none. Even on horses that normally justify that. I have to be more careful putting that much time into races that won't be playable in the end. However, I also make other bets, and gaining info on any types like this is worthwhile because I do that. I can see her flaws, and I will get the money payout for my time today in her next few starts. She was just too much for this bunch as it turns out. 


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I had scoped out a whole bunch of races at Freehold which I thought I could get 4 or 5 plays out of, but I didn't do more than list those races. When I got started today, Freehold, along with many other tracks where I had a play or two was cancelled because of cold weather. So, my day was basically done with Gulfstream, which meant no plays period.


I did completely handicap race 1 at Monticello the night before, as I thought that was very playable, but they also cancelled. I had races 8 and 9 listed as playable races there, but didn't do any work and that paid off as there was no races to play. Below is my work on Race 1 that I can use when they recard those horses. I make some handicapping points within these comments, if you are interested in that.  


1 IDEAL CANDIDATE is an old campaigner at age 12. That is not uncommon, and they do very well at places like Monticello, where there are many just like them, the speeds are not as fast as they were once used to, and they can get softer trips to favor them against mostly weaker and inferior or even washed up horses who are being raced for the smallest purse cheques by others who don't even have to or attempt to make a living racing horses. In that vein, the guys who do race these types race them hard and often and make a good buck off them while they last.


One thing you notice about Monticello in particular is that the ml is not well done. Almost all faves are 5-2, some go off 1-9, some don't even go off as the favorite. So, you have to start with it, but quickly look at the horses pp's and connections to see if you think the bettors will hammer it or ignore it. That is strictly based on experience in watching it for long enough. IDEAL CANDIDATE has a high profile and successful trainer, he won his last start--at this level, draws the rail, and has won 5 of his last 6--all at this level, with the only other being from post 7, where he still got 3rd. He will draw a jumper of some kind. Because of the nature of the fields at Monticello, and how the track plays, its not as easy to beat a jumper horse, so you have to find significant flaws to go against. That is where the work begins here.


There wasnt much to see in his last start. He used rail control to leave out, put the chalk in his pocket, got a breather 2nd quarter, sped up the 3rd  quarter and beat off the fave who pulled the pocket very early, in spite of a passing lane, then accelerated away for a very easy win. He looks cinchy today at probably 3-5.

He appears still very sound, and willing. He likes control, and from a good post can leave and get it. The only thing that could get him beat is someone running at him the entire way and taking away his best friend, which is a 2nd quarter breather. So, the task is to look at the rest of the field and see if that is likely, and then make a call. He raced 42 times last year and won 15 of them. He isnt easy to beat.


2 Wink and Nod barely earns his way at this point. He draws well and will be looking to tuck and get a soft trip for a piece of the pie at the end. That is what is to be expected of him.


3 Brett Mcfavrelous is the wildcard in this bunch. You just never know with Staulbaum. He is very aggressive at times, and would park out his grandmother if that meant he would win the race. This horse shipped to Monticello last time, as Buffalo is closed for a while, and its a place Staulbaum knows well, as he used to race here steady for years. He dropped class last time, but while he had the rail, he was outleft, then stayed in 3rd, and backed up the entire way. So, he drops to the bottom claimer here. He is hard to like, but I could see Staulbaum blasting him out and trying to get the lead and hoping for a retake by the fave so he can sit a 2 hole. If that happens, and he gets hung, it could be a rodeo.


4 Oncoming Storm has lousy form and has had not done well at Monticello overall anyway. His last 3 have been bad, and he takes a further drop in class here. He had post 7 last time, went to the back, did nothing, and closed with the pack but passed none of them. He is hard to like or think he will be any factor in the pace. He has missed the ticket in his last 10 starts.


5 Lynyrd is by a sire I hate, and most of them are non triers and bad finishers. He fits that profile to a T. He has the longest ml odds, and for good reason. He had a bad post last time, went to the back and did zero to make you think he can do much better here. He is in deep to make the ticket or have any effect on this field.


6 Celtic Art comes off two wins but moves up. Moves up is relative. he isn't meeting Cam fella here. Post will hurt, but good form goes a long way when you meet many with bad form. Last time, he left well from the inside, stacked up the only other contenders, controlled the race and outfinished the pocket sitter. That might have worked here too, if he could get that type of trip. He wont. Two starts back, he blasted out from the 6 hole, cut very hot fractions and took them all the way as the longest shot on the board, but he bottomed out the field and came home in 32. If he blasts here, and doesn't get the lead or a hole, and pushed the pace with his overall good speed, he could set it up for others and wipe out the favorite with him. That is the key to the race.


7 Terrorize the Moon has decent form, but draws post 7 in a race with inside speed in front of him and likely a bunch of hangers who will block the road mid race. He can blast, as he did last time from the rail, but he doesn't have a second move. He was 2nd last time, but well back and outstaggered ratty hangers. He is likely to take back and come late. In that scenario, he is viable for the ticket if others battle.


As mentioned above, this race never came to be. So, who knows if I was right on not. But they will meet again, and I have a pretty good read on most of them from doing this. I will make it pay off under the right circumstances.


Knowledge is power. That is always my view.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Understand horses...and the people who contest races.

Today, in my Facebook group, my friend Chuck Jones made a post. I will share it below.




It was an insightful post, and I like that Chuck knows he doesn't know enough on his own and avails himself of the help that is there in my group. That includes myself, my friend Garnet Barnsdale, who is a paid handicapper, and a host of others, including seasoned players and professional trainers.

Right off the bat, I knew what Chuck was thinking, because many would think it, and its the common perception that most will have...if...they don't know horses, and they don't know the people who participate in the racing of horses.
So, I made a comment, which you will see in the above screen cap, and then I wrote a status, which I will post below that.



"Since Chuck brought it up, I'm going to take the time to make a handicapping point.
In another group Chuck and I are in (and some others in this group), a guy made a post about speed horses in the T breds. His theory was that front end speed would win the majority of races, and to play them that way. In the race he mentioned, he thought that would be the case, but while it was, he wasn't on the winner, a 14-1 shot, because he didn't show any gate speed on his recent lines.
When Chris Christoforou was in this group, someone mentioned that a certain driver can "make speed" with horses. Chris mentioned that any driver can make any horse leave if they really want to. That is just something you know if you train horses, and drive them. If a horse can close in 27, he can leave in 27. Cool Rock showed that last week when he wired the field, when he is noted by the talking heads as a "stone cold closer" which is really just bullshit.
Back in the day, a horse called Shady Hill Pride was a WEG warrior for many years. He was so noted as a lay back, then monster closer, that Earl Lennox would call him coming wide on the last turn every time, as he was "winding up"...and coming from "the end east parking lot"..which Greenwood had but most didn't want to park in that lot, as it was far from where you sat to watch the races. One day, Harold Stead was driving the horse. I don't think he was the regular driver, and that day, for whatever reason, he blasted off the wings, opened up daylight, and maintained it. After that day, the horse was on the front end a lot, and won some, lost some. When he was older, he was a crazy front end kamikaze that could open up 20 on a field of 2 claimers at Hanover or Orangeville. Sometimes he held on, other times he caved. He had enough ability edge on those fields to attempt that. We have seen Stature Seelster try that at WEG, and it doesn't work. At Flamboro, it can work for him, but still, he can get picked up like he did last time.
I had a mare I claimed called Mac Ms R Nukes. She had one monster brush, the No Nukes brush many have seen if they watch his old races. She was by a son of No Nukes, out of a Sonsam mare, another horse with a crazy brush. She was racing off the pace every week, and winning. She had low lifetime earnings, so, I claimed her, and put her in low earning conditions for a big purse at London. Those were the times when the money was really flowing.
I got her home, and she was very quiet and lazy. Two fingers to jog as they say.
So, after a day or two, I turned her and rattled her cage. I woke her up.
I put her in at London, and got the rail. I thought I was a cinch winner. She was so hyped up, she was hard to get off the trailer. Anyway, she blasted out and daylighted the field most of the way, only to get beat by some WEG class dropper Mark Etsell had. Still, 2nd money was good money. I put her back in that class, she drew the rail again, and pulled the same stunt. She got 2nd again, then regressed. She was not really a good horse to put on the front, as she wouldn't rate once you started doing that. That is why many don't do it. You end up with a Stature Seelster once you let them get that way.
But make no mistake, just about any horse can be that type, if you want to race them that way. Don't get sucked into a program page that makes you think one horse will be the only speed. When other drivers see that, they think this is the night to leave and take a shot."

 
Further, I made a comment about which horse I thought would do something that most would not expect, and as it played out, that horse did exactly that. What was that?

In a race with apparent lone speed, with the favorite having that speed, a horse who shows flashes of that sort of thing, would be gassed out of there to go with her, and try to take advantage of that.
My point to Chuck, and others, was that most horses can leave, even if they don't show that very often, or even at all. It's there if you want to ask them to do it. There is a reason mostly why you don't, but that doesn't mean there isn't a reason on that day to try it.
Now, say you were a jockey. You can read the program just like the bettors can. Everyone thinks the fave is the lone speed, you know your horse can also go if asked, and possibly most of the others are going to take back. This is your chance to get out, sit on that one's back, stay close, suck along, and then take your shot at the end of the race. That is what jockeys do, and what the good ones are paid to do. That is...figure out how to win races and make calls that win races that most times the horse should lose.
Think about that the next time you think there is a lone speed horse, and nobody will go with that one. Likely, something that doesn't show gate speed will take a shot. And you will get long odds, because nobody is figuring that one will.
That is how value plays are created.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

10 valid thoughts for the serious horseplayer.

1. Your time is the most important variable to consider. If you waste it in any way, your ROI will go down by that amount. You have to work on ways to use your time better. Time is money is a very valid concept for serious horseplayers. 

2. Hit rate is not that important. Its not irrelevant either. But, no matter what your hit rate is, if you don't play for value, you are guaranteed to lose money. 

3. What others say is important. They might give you info you can use. But your own opinion and system is always the most important thing to listen to. Others will always say things that will trigger you, and they will think up things you would have never thought to test or try. Doesn't mean they are right, but it means they are a resource to avail yourself of. It doesn't replace what you do, but it can add to it if applied correctly. Don't discount anyone until they convince you that is the best option.

4. You don't know it all, and neither does anybody else. If they claim they do, its a sure sign they know little, and certainly less than you if you are already successful. You never stop learning if you play the horses. I've done if for 35 years, and I learn more now than I did 2 years ago. 

5. Winning at the races is simple, but its not easy. Its hard work and its a constant battle to get better faster than the others can catch up to your edge. Set time away from playing to get better every day. It will pay off in better returns over time.
 
6. You have to accept losing, and make plays that will lose, trying not to be perfect. Its the net amount you win that matters, not whether you win or lose a bet. Hardest one of these 10 for a perfectionist like me to master. I've worked hard to accept losing as part of the winning process.
 
7. Until you figure out other ways of playing, stick to what you know and what works for you. Profit is profit. How you do it, and how others do it doesn't matter. Whoever makes the best return on their bankroll is doing it right for themselves. I probably don't understand your bets that well, and you won't understand mine. Its not a race to figure out how others do it. The goal is to do it well yourself, and that is all that matters.

8. Numbers don't lie. If you gather valid data, what others think about an angle mean nothing if your data is tested and proved valid. You will win, and they will lose. Facts trump opinion. They likely wont understand what you do, how you figure it out. That is not your problem. That is your edge.

9.Study what losers say and play. They will lead you to angles and success just by steering you away from poor and ill conceived plays. Stupid is very valuable in this scenario. The flipside of a loser is a winner taking their money. Without losers, we would only be trying to beat whales with supercomputers and high powered brainiacs on their payroll. Good luck with that.

10. You have to be consistent. You can never alter your strategy or how you play because you win or lose a lot in a day or week. If you know what you are doing, trust yourself. If you don't trust your ability, your work and your plan, you might as well just burn the money. At least it will be useful and heat your house. It certainly will disappear if you don't stick with the plan you have set out.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

WEG Handicapping and Betting, Notes and Comments: June 13, 2017

RACE 1

1 Expose Yourself

d
​id ​
​some winning in the winter at Pompano, where Henry spends the winter. She came back home with aspirations to tackle the better ones. She is definitely a live wire parading and going to the gate, so anything that can help her when she gets rocky might help. The first time she made the gate and was away well, but she seemed to be in way too tough, and chasing the likes of Magic Presto and some of the lesser ones behind her were too much for her. She blew up before she got started both times after that, and went back to school with the trotting hopples, which kept her together enough to blast out a 57.3 mile at Grand River. That can't be discounted, but, the rail is very bad again at Mohawk, it claimed Hill Yes last night, and there have been no winners the last two cards. I find her hard to latch onto with all the variables in play.
2 Late Shift
h
​ad post 10 last time, blasted out to an easy lead as there were many jumpers who weren't in the road, but in spite of reasonable fractions from there, packed it in when it mattered. She did the same thing from the 6 hole the race before that, although the back half and overall time were much faster. It could be that she is a 58 trotter at this stage and that will only get her what it does. I'd have to think that isn't good enough to take down this entire bunch. She is an 0 for 12 maiden facing a few winners here. If her 5-2 ML top choice holds, I'd think she is very bad value.
3 Hab Faith
is pretty much in the same boat as Late Shift. She has enough gate speed to get up into contention, but when they start asking her for more, she wilts. ​
​Like many, her good manners, solid gait and early speed served her well at 2, but its not enough to carry her at 3, when the fields are deeper and faster as a rule. I can't see her on her current performance.​


4 Sweet Kimmy
​look to have been a project horse for Burgess since he broke her.​
​  She managed to pull it together and surfaced finally on Friday at Grand River, where she was a distant 2nd to a very high end prospect who toyed with and outclassed the field. She was a good 2nd to him. She is a longshot for sure, but appears to have some upside as she learns her craft. I like that she at least makes the gate and gets away clean most times. Last time she stayed at it the entire way, and under pressure first up. Outside of an equipment break in a qualifier, she has kept it together the entire way this season. She now needs to do that and go faster. 2:01 over Grand River is in range with most of these if she makes the 3 second gain you can from that oval to this one. Blair turns her over to Saftic, which is another positive sign. Shot.

5 Muscle Lane
raced at 2, but she wasn't much and clearly wasn't ready to compete. She has come back ready to play, trying to go down the road in her first start at Kawartha, and only being picked off on the wire. She is possible, but she will have to leave faster to get control with a few that are both inside and outside of her. I want to see her once with this level of competition. She could slide onto the ticket if enough of them blow up, she behaves and drops another second or two. Kawartha is a very fast track, so that might not happen like it can with the ones coming from Grand River or other half mile tracks.

6 Northern Oath
​ raced decently at 2, finishing 3rd to Cameron Hill, and drawing two 10 holes prior to that, and a solid 4th in the start before that, all starts where she was just below or at 2 minutes. ​
​She qualified good upon return, in 58 at Georgian, then made a break leaving last time, but recovered. I'd have to think they don't pay 350 bucks to race in this spot unless its something they can rectify, when she could go right back into a maiden and bag 3k without paying up to try and get it. Good upset potential, Steve Byron brings in a lot of longshots and is a very fine driver with young stock.

7 Literally
won a Grassroots last year when she first came out, then was 2nd and 3rd in two Golds, before tailing off and being shut down. She qualified a 2nd time, over a month ago, and then came up sick for her first start. That is hard to go on, and her consistent weak last quarters make her tough to go to. Lets see her return to the promise she showed early last year. Being a Justice Hall, she is likely to be very erratic. Good longshot prospect some time this summer when the variables come together.

8 Angies Dish
s
​hows nothing to suggest she is viable in this spot, or any other spot for that matter. I have to see something positive from her. Zeron's stock has mostly been awful this late spring and early summer. Pass for now.​


9 Twin B Venus
​draws poorly, is yet to show the speed of most of these, and I would think is hoping to pick up a decent cheque. A return to Grand River and that type of class seems the better spot. ​
​ She still fits the class she got 2nd in last time. She has enough allowance to take 4th or 5th here, get her speed down a bit, and return there for a few scores. ​


10 Hudsons Ya Ya
​draws poorly and her two starts this season have not been impressive. I can't see how she wins this. ​


RACE 3

1 Gisele Treelane
​ ​
m
​ust have showed high ability all along, as she really looked hopeless in all her preps. She finally held it together, then ​
​found the perfect soft field composed of no talents and runners to simply one move late and mow them all down with a 57 flat back half. She blew up again last time, but she is a young trotter learning. She could be either tonight, but the ability looks to be there. I'd like to see her parade before I make any play on her, but if you are playing the pick 5, I'd consider her a must use. Post 1 could be tricky for her, but if she gets away clean and doesn't spot them 15 to the half, she is in play.

2 Powerful Mission
​ shows very high speed at times, and can beat a tough enough bunch when she keeps it together. Her breeding suggests she wont very often, but on any given night, she is one or the other. ​
​She was rolling wide last time when she blew up, and I'd think Phil will try to avoid that trip and stay in as long as possible, aiming to split horses or swing out when they are going straight. Shot, but iffy as the page and her lines suggest.

3 Moni Justice
​ seems to be like most of the young ones Dagfin brings out....she has ability, he doesn't let much of it show early as he keeps them within themselves and gradually ups the ante as they show they could possibly be ready for that demand. Off a qualifier and a decent race at Georgian where she trotted in 2 minutes and took 2nd, I could see her as a decent add. There are enough iffy ones in here to suggest they could just self destruct while she takes her time down to 57, and that might be enough. Tough call when you don't have a lot to go on except the trainers history. Her slow starts put her in a hole, and these are likely to be even faster to the half. That is a negative first time out with this sort of company.

4 Magic Maddy
​ ​
​looks like the bit player type for now. I suppose eventually she could mature and come into herself, like many do. At this stage, not winning on the Kawartha soft spot, and only getting 3rd to a very weak bunch last week don't inspire me to think she can do much more, and many of these do have that upside.

5 You Cant Afford Me
​ was a solid 2nd in nw3 last time, and that coupled with her overall time, likely makes her the favorite here. I'm not sold that she is worthy of that, based on 1 good race and being 2nd to a mare who went winless for 2 years, then didn't have much last night either. I will go elsewhere and let her beat me. She is not proven as a winner against stakes types. Her high level of inbreeding also suggest consistency can be an issue. She hasn't proved yet that isn't in play.

6 Hilarious Honey
has been all over the racing map, Georgian, Philadelphia, The Big M, Pocono, and not got the job done yet. However, this type, in this type of class, over time, in my view, can be very dangerous. Nobody gets an accurate read on them, and they move them around because they feel the horse is worthy of all that effort. Philly and Pocono race every week, many times a week. You could just leave her there and race maidens for free. Why ship here again and pay up to race? I'm suspicious that she might bring more to the table than they have showed us. Yes, she is a maiden, and she has had 10 tries to change that status. But she also has 6 OTB finishes, and some money made. The other note of interest is that Philly is well known to those that watch it as being a trap along the rail to start from for a young trotter, or any trotter, or even some pacers. The track is very loose and the turns are uneven ground. That plays into her current form, as does a tune up at Georgian last time where she wasn't bad, although a bad overbet favorite. Neither of those factors are her fault.

7 Holiday Style
​ shows nothing to suggest she can go with maidens, let alone stakes horses and some who are winners. I can't see her.

8 Lady Justice
​ made 52k last year, but never won a race. Her first two this year have been terrible, and she draws bad again. Another I cannot see at this stage, but Henry might turn her around during the summer. I will watch for tonight.

9 Gaelic Lass
​ has a bad post, a low percentage driver, and doesn't look fit enough or fast enough to compete yet. Lets see what she can do. I don't like her tonight, that is obvious from my previous comment. She gets 1st time trotting hopples, so there is room for improvement as she goes along.

10 Angora Seelster
​ has some speed, and some upside, but as for tonight, she has a non driving trainer and the 10 hole, and she is erratic on her own. Can't play her from what I see, but she will be a player at some stage this season.
RACE 5

1 Try to Resist
​ is a maiden leaving from the rail who has not showed the speed or ability of many of these. Cant see her getting money.

2 Perfect Delight
​ trotted a solid mile in her first effort of the year, 2nd of her career. I can see her going forward and she would be a decent longshot if her ML holds, which I suspect it wont.

3 Tymal Declan
​ has not shown anything to suggest she belongs with this group, or at this track. She will have to fool me. She appears to be a nice B track horse if she sticks to that and stays in conditions.

4 Da Miracle
t
​rotted a decent yet unspectacular mile last time, shaving her time down considerably in her first start of the year. She is another who could step up, in a race where there are many unknowns.

5 Bustingattheseams
​is somewhat erratic, yet capable enough when she keeps it together. Post 5 might favor her getting out near the top, where she appears to like it. Randy is not opposed to doing that and then sitting the entire mile looking for a late opening. That could be the right formula here. She shows bursts of speed at different points in different miles. If she gets the right trip, that burst could be valuable tonight. Shot.

6 Anikadabra
​  made a good buck at 2, winning the Grassroots final and many other legs, but has not come back sharp. She could take heavy win money tonight, and based on her inclination to go backwards so far, and run last time, I will take my shot against her.

7 Majestic Kat
can be a slow starter, and that is a bit of a problem, but generally she is progressing and going forward as she races on. She is a viable option if the price is right. I'd want 4-1 to try her, but either way, I'd use her in the picks.

8 Jilona
​ seems to trot right around 57, which might be good enough here. Post will hurt her, potentially, as she has started slow from the outside and not been able to make up the difference. That being the case, I could see Trevor blasting and taking his shot, and my opinion is that if that were to occur, it will set it up for something late, or Randy if he gets on her back and finds a way out at the right time. A lot of ifs and maybe's, but its an angle in a race like this.

9 Ticket to Seattle
​ ​
b
​eat ​
​ a very weak bunch 3 weeks ago, draws badly tonight, and loses her driver to her stablemate. That is enough for me to pass on her.

10 Kendras Coco
​ ​
i
​s an 0 for 10 maiden from the 10 hole coming off a break. That makes her hard to like on multiple levels.

Monday, May 29, 2017

WEG Handicapping and Betting, Notes and Comments: May 29, 2017

RACE 1

1 On a Sunny Day did pretty much everything right at 2, winning 4 of 6, being 2nd in another and running in the Superfinal, her only blemish. She did have the rail in that last start, and as we know, that can be a real problem for trotters, especially young trotters. She draws that again tonight. She was flawless in the 2nd qualifier back, doing everything right and angling in the lane to float by the others under no urging. She has a proven track record of being a very solid finisher, which is a big plus with this group. This is not a tough or deep field, and since she trotted in 55.4 at 2, and has had 2 qualifiers, I would think she can trot in 56 right away. I don't know if that is enough, based on how fast they were going Saturday night, and Fillion might be cautious leaving from the inside, as I'm sure this one has bigger dances right on the horizon, as Hamilton notes in the program. If the 2 takes a lot of win money, she is a viable option to play against her.

2 Pampered in Pink is typical of most of the young trotters with issues that Vanderkamp turns. He has taught this one to find a comfort zone, and he mainly does that by letting them float out and relax, so they stop getting edgy going to the gate thinking they will run, then gradually lets them move into the race and finish well, mostly going away from the field late. Once they get to that stage, he starts racing them more tactically. This one fits that profile. The step up from maidens to nw2, both tests she has passed, and then to nw3 requires a bit more speed and a bit more racing effort earlier in the mile. Last time she was floated out again towards the back and had too far to come, but she did go back to back 28 and change quarters, indicating she is progressing and still in very good form. At this stage, Jake And Pondas Lexus are too advanced for her, but she was right there with the rest, and meets a much softer field here. Post 2 is no problem, as she doesn't look to be in need of being in the top 5 at the quarter anyway.
She received mild urging at best last time, and certainly could have gotten 3rd if that was important. Hard to ignore her form, but she could bring a very short price tonight.

3 J N Ryder has 1 lifetime win in many starts, which he took 2 back at London. He is 5 now, and has earned a decent buck considering his win shy status. He won by leaving from the rail, which he has always been known to do, and backing down the half. Back with better last time and without control, he was back to his small pieces lifestyle. I can't play him in with some pretty nice ones.

4 Santini is likely gearing up for a solid Grassroots season, as he did last year. He has prepped well and took his time down nicely last time. This is his his 3rd start back, and loses Fillion to the rail horse but picks up Condren, who can arguably be considered better with this type of horse. He was gapping and finished only evenly last time, even though he had a very soft trip. I think he needs one more to be 100% fit, and he is only a minor use tonight if I am wrong and he steps up.

5 Life Well Lived tried Gold colts last time at Flamboro, on a miserable night and deep track. We wont know if he was actually good enough, because he jumped it off early and never recovered. He would need to take a second or two off his final time to go with the best of these currently, but he does have a good post to get out near the lead, and if one or both of the logical ones from the insider happen to blow up or encounter bad road trouble, he is viable. Carmen had a very good run on Friday and Saturday, and he can win a lot of races when his stable gets hot.

6 Bluebird D Train ships in from the B tracks, where she has done reasonably well. She tried a step lower at Woodbine twice, but wasn't good enough then. Perhaps she has matured a bit, but he is not finding a soft bunch at the top end of this field. She does bear in, or at least lean in enough that the move back to the big track will help her. She looks short on class to a few of these. Very minor use in the picks if you want to go deep. She would need them to fail.

7 Janderson goes 2nd off the layoff, plus 2 qualifiers, and is another prepping for probably a try at Gold Fillies again to see if she carries her 2yo form into 3. Some don't. She was following a loose on the lead leader last time, but gapped that one and was not with the top 2 when the win was decided. She also had the pack ready to swarm her, but the line came just in time. She did knock almost 2 seconds off the qualifier, and that is the fastest she has gone yet. I can see her as a bit player, and a minor shot if a lot of things go her way. Her breeding suggests that when others gradually progress and win in faster time, she will be more than happy to tag along like last time. I prefer others.

8 I Jasmin has a very low percentage trainer, and a very high percentage driver. What to do, what to do? She herself is also a 3 time winner who has done a lot of racing but is now a 6yo. McNair jumped off to take the 10, as you would expect anybody who can read the program would. Last time, off the shelf, she drew post 10, spotted them 20 at the quarter, but did trot forward late, with a back half in 56.1, evenly to only get beat 5. She might be a play next time if she draws better and duplicates that performance. She has a history of not duplicating performances. Lets see how she is this time. She trotted consistently in 55 and change last year before she was laid off. That would be in range for this class most nights.

9 Money Mission was decent enough last year, but like many that go from 3 to 4 and dont have restricted sire stakes types to play with, he is struggling. This is his 3rd start back, after many qualifiers to get back in the box, and he has been a slow starting bit player to this point. Both times a big longshot, and he draws the 9 hole here. He looks like a one speed, B track type that will do well when Georgian opens up. I will watch and wait for now.

10 Winter Sweet Frost banked 323k last year but has raced poorly in 3 starts to this point upon return. She jumped it off last time, and I would think the goal tonight from the 10 hole is to get away clean, keep at it, brush late for whatever that gets, and be going in the right direction for the first Sire Stakes, which is coming up shortly.

RACE 2

1 Northern Swift is a nicely progressing maiden who drops into a Grassroots, which generally is not a good angle, but this race has come up soft on that variable. The only one who is really proven, the 6, has suspect form and generally her type regresses as they go from 2 to 3. This filly has drawn a post 1 and 9, so she likely has been up against it. She gets the rail again, and that is a negative. Last time, from the 9, she tried to go directly left when the gate sped away, and Drury had to correct her, and in the meantime, she was left out with no hole. When she got to the turn, the hole was there, but Drury didn't want it, as there was one in front of that hole who was steppy and might have jumped right in front of her. So, he carried on, parked the mile, and she stayed with it most of the way, only tiring mid lane and coming home even. She is extremely green, but appears to have a lot of speed and potential. Minor shot tonight if she puts it together. At least if she veers slightly left leaving, she only has to hit pylons and not other horses.

2 Southwind Geo is the opposite of the 1. She is a seasoned maiden, having raced a lot at 2, and still going up to this point. She is now 0 for 15, and she returns from London. I will say that other than last time, she drew badly every other time at London, and because London is more about earnings that wins, she was racing higher than what a straight maiden might have to face. Last time, she did draw better, but moved first over into a 28.1 third quarter that did her in. She looks like a one brush horse, as her breeding would suggest she is. I could see her as a viable, very minor longshot chance in with a bunch that have enough holes to make me think like that.

3 Cams Lucky Star was bred by MacIntosh, on one of his favorite crosses (Camluck/Artsplace), but when she showed up as a racehorse last year she was already in the hands of the connections she returns to tonight. Same owner, but after a stint in Ohio, she returns to team McNair. She progressed nicely and then got it done in a maiden at Miami Valley 2 back, but then had post 8 at Scioto, was at least 5 lengths off the gate when it sped away, spend the entire time in the backfield in a second set of no good ones that were going nowhere, and she couldn't even pass them. I like others a lot better than her, and if she were to back up that 3-1 ML and go off the fave or close to it, I'd book her action and leave her off any ticket.

4 C Mary wired the bottom maidens at London, then came right back at the added distance race and wired those. She made the move to the big track last time, but was an iffy leaver, then hung, then gapping out badly, and finally well beaten 10th. She does show two fast quarters to finish off that race, but she was doing nothing while doing it, and others did better than her. I think this move gets her a bit ahead of herself. Her trainer sports a high average, so he appears to know how to spot them to make money.

5 Deprived is a very aggresive type, but more than anything, she is grabby as long as she is following along. Three back JJ tripped her out in the deuce, but when shown a clear lane, she couldn't even pass a tired and running in leader, who raced poorly again next time, and let another by as well. I can see her blasting out here and looking for someone to follow, but I'm not sure how that ends up in a winning trip. She will have to do more. She is also a maiden, but a poor performing one.

6 Southwind Ion started out with high hopes when Coleman brought her out in a Gold right off the bat last year. That never really worked out, and she was sold after spending the spring in Andrew Harris's stable, when she was thrown into a conditioned claimer at Pocono last time, and raced terrible. Gilmour takes over here, and she draws well. Those are two variables that can't be ignored, as well as her 4 lifetime wins, her 53.4 mark taken last year and her 68k in the bank. She is hard to ignore, as Hamilton has done in his comments, and I'd have to use her in some manner in the exotics. She will have to be seen, but she has a class and experience edge on a lot of these, but terrible form to go on. According to the program, she will be removed from racing on Lasix tonight. That is an interesting change you don't see often. London is done and Grand River hasn't started yet, so McClure is in to drive her.

7 Fading Shadow was bred and raced by Jack Darling last year, but he moved her out the door, as she didn't appear to be much stock. She tried the Grassroots once last year, was 9th, and then hit the conditioned claimers until she was purchased by the new connections. She has come back ready to race, and bagged 2 2nd place finishes at London, as she moves here to try the stakes fillies again. She has a shot as she appears to be improving. I'd use her in a minor way.

8 Maching Me Zilly is an 0 for 13 maiden that draws the 8 hole. That isn't a good start to my assessment of her chances tonight. She had post 9 last time, 8 before that, and was in a deep hole both times. No reason to think she isn't in that hole again here. She does show finishing well, and back in a straight maiden, I think she is a viable play on the right night.

9 Machs Echo is a homebred that barely raced at 2, and draws poorly tonight, after spending the winter at Pompano and shipping into London to get her season started here. She is hard to like and one I will have to see parade and race to get a read on for next time.

RACE 3

1 Stenhouse Hanover beat a pretty soft bunch of maidens last time by simply staying trotting, going one speed, staying out of trouble and outclassing them. There are a few in here that he wont get away with that. He is likely to be as good as many by the fall, but he is not there yet. This is a tough climb all things considered.

2 Innovative Force is a 4yo gelding that is 1 for 30 something, with weak form. He retains Roy, but he starts slow and had missed almost a month, and meets a few in here with high hopes for a bright future, which this one doesn't look to have. Of note, he did draw the rail 3 times in a row at Woodbine and was a bit better last time from a better post. If he were to perform tonight, I'd consider him for a longshot chance next time. He took his lone win at Flamboro, so, in reality, he is a maiden at this track, but doesn't get to race against them. Not tonight for me.

3 Perfect Mass came right out and was ready to race at first asking, scoring impressively. She was pushed right in against stakes foes next out and the pace was much faster. When moving well, she appeared to interfere slightly up front and jumped. Otherwise she looked okay. If that issue is sorted out, she is back in where she can compete and has a legit shot to take these down, especially if the 7 has similar issues to last time which didn't cost him then but will tonight against one like this.

4 Euro Gap was in the Takter barn in the winter, and he got him sorted out right before the sale, and Grant bought him. He has returned to his spotty consistency and jumped it off twice before holding it together in the qualifier. He shows high speed when he can put it all together. Minor longshot upset potential because of the type of colt he is. I wouldn't want him to beat me tonight because he figured it out and others just bomb out.

5 Tougher Than Ever seems to be a one speed type. He goes 29 and change almost every quarter, an on a night when 57 and change or 58 wins the race, he will win that race. Otherwise, he just goes along and picks up whatever is left on the table. Last time, he was on cover, which was poor but going forward, then lucked into a mare who had broken equipment and a front end stopper who bagged it and that landed him 3rd, with no threat to the top 2. His slow starts don't inspire confidence that a one speed type like him can storm home and beat them all.

6 Just for You draws the best post and goes out for Boyd, who is red hot with the longshots lately, and he owns this one himself. She has progressed nicely off the shelf and closed well last time to be right there. Shot at a price.

7 Dancer Hall is an interesting one. He is obviously talented, and has a powerful frame and strides in full gear. He also stays out a long way and just keeps going. However, he does show the signs of soreness and lameness that you would expect from one who has an Amigo Hall dam and Deweycheatnhowe son. I'd still use him in a minor way, but he is ripe to go down if he keeps needing finessing like he did last time.

8 Weslynn Dancer shows a lot of X's on the page, including her last race and 2 of her last 3. Post 8 tonight, and there are a few in here who are ahead of her on most variables. I will pass on her until I see something of a consistent effort week to week. Being one of Bax's, I'm aware she is capable of turning it around fast and scoring at a big price.

9 Heineken Seelster is not one I can back on many of the variables I see, namely post position, coming off a layoff, makes breaks, cheap bred, never beat much or gone fast, and on and on it could go.

10 Vero Amore Bi was aimed at the big dances and won a Gold before going lame and being shut down. He looked lame long before that, and now comes back off the shelf with 2 qualifiers and post 10. I would think Randy races him easy and his efforts will be put into another day for a better purse.

RACE 4


1 Rose Run Samantha made a very impressive post parade appearance last time and raced right to it in the race, being 2nd from the 10 hole and giving the winner a good run in the lane. She is a maiden however meeting many proven winners, draws the rail, and has a driver who uses others when winning is more important than teaching. She is possible, but I wouldn't be taking a short price on her and I suspect that is what is coming.

2 Out of Sight was aimed high last year, but couldn't quite cut it, and ended up just winning a maiden and the final of the Autumn Series. She did make 46k and was fairly competitive when spotted right. She comes back off the shelf with two qualifiers and racing at the Grassroots level now. This isn't a sterling field at first glance, so, I could see her getting it done and I'd have to use her in the pick 4 and 5 if I were to play that. This could be one RW gets out near the pace, buries, and comes up the rail late to steal it.

3 Kloof Street has never really looked sound in all the times I've seen her, and now she returns for the season off 3 qualifiers, which she needed because she ran in the first two and got around last time with the trainer driving. That is not inspiring me to use her, in spite of her upside potential at times.

4 Royal Point ships in with some decent lines and a solid winning record.....beating maidens from rail starts at Rideau. If that is the kiddies pool, she is swimming in the middle of the ocean without a life preserver here. She will have to be seen and prove she can handle some relatively tough customers for her.

5 Sheer Talent was pretty solid last year, and both made money and won races. This year has been another story, as her first 3 starts have been awful. Carmen's barn was very cold, and she is also a Badlands Hanover mare, and they seem to go off form and then turn it around fast without warning. She has to be considered a dangerous longshot to use if you don't want to get wiped out here. Carmen has not gone the Lasix route here--his favorite fix it for the ones that stop---so I infer there is some other issue and he is working on it. Tonight could be the night it pays off.

6 Ask for Me is 1 for 13 life, got that win with a superb rating that gave the only legit one on her back no chance, but otherwise has not performed. She is coming off 3 bad posts in a row, so, while I don't like her for the win tonight, I could see her turning it around in the near future if I see something remotely positive here.

7 Gottalovemyshadow is both very eager, and very green, and at times she drives like a snake, and almost run up on horses when she follows. She will probably grow out of that, and she does look talented when she gets it right. One of many in here, but I'd have to use her. She paced in 53, back to back 27.3 quarters in her last start. That appears better than most of these.

8 Braonach wired a soft bunch at Flamboro in April, but otherwise she has been a bust as a racehorse to this point, and gets the 8 hole tonight. She appears to take after her brothers win shy tendencies. I can't see how she makes the ticket.

9 White Dancer shows enough to be a player with this group if she wasn't in the 9 hole start jail. I guess you could add her if you have room, as J Mac has been known to find a trip to get this kind home. That is your call. I haven't decided yet myself if I want to do that. She also has soundness issues, so being Race 4, you get to see who she is on that front before you play the pick 4. I will avail myself of that option. For the pick 5, you have to make the call at 7:25.

10 Big Chute is a bit player maiden from the 10 hole facing winners, and some stake winners. Hard to see how she can beat these.

RACE 5

1 Pickled Preacher went to the top in his debut last time at Flamboro and wired them. Hard to knock that effort, and he gets to race maidens at this track. I will watch him once with these, and some of them have gone pretty fast to date and he is likely coming from off the pace with a rail start. Tab for later. Pass for tonight.

2 American Sportsman could easily go off at 1-5 tonight, and if it was just off the program, that would probably be okay. However, he shows very troubling lameness signs, and last time was galloping after the wire and for a good stretch after that. McNair was slashing on him to get it back together. He has showed those troubles before, and thus is a blow up candidate. On talent, he probably has a big edge on these but not so much that he can be 70% and beat a few who show enough. Minor underneath use to CYA, but I'd go against him and hope he proves me right.

3 Big Charlie Horse has big upset potential, and should be a big price. He made his lifetime debut last time, from post 9, and spotted them 20 at the quarter. He paced a big 3rd quarter, showing the type of speed you hope maidens translate into winning form as they progress. Obviously he will have to do a lot more and go a lot faster, but his dam had that type of speed and class, and of course, his sire is a known quantity. This field is ripe for a longshot. He could be the one. Or not. Tough call when you only have that race to go by.

4 Penzance Hanover started poorly in his career debut, was out and moving wide, was in contention but not looking terribly dangerous, but then wiped out by a loon who had to deal with a blind driver who came out where there was no clearance. He hooked wheels and came to a dead stop. Minor shot, but I want to see him go an entire mile and work for it before I call him a serious contender. Mayotte generally is a long term thinker and isn't in a hurry to win a maiden with a 2nd time starter.

5 Creepin is a very fast leaver, but he appears to need to sit a long time and draft. When he did that 3 back, he stayed on for 2nd. When he didn't 2 back, he walked home. The improved post here gives him a big shot to turn the tables on whoever cuts it if he can sit on a live helmet and one brush later to contend and possibly win. Top call for the upset over the obvious faves.

6 Abbeydorney looks to have some speed, and was tried briefly against Metro foes at 2, with a poor result and not a good finish to his year. He switches barns to Marfisi as he resurfaces, and draws the good post. He is a contender, but I like others in this spot. I have to see him and see how he races.

7 Tremendous Play has 2 poor posts in a row, and draws better here, but meets what would be considered a deep maiden field compared to most nights. Not for me tonight, but he could be a longshot player as the summer progresses.

8 Uncle Reimus shows poor starts and some breaks leaving otherwise, coupled with post 8 tonight, it makes it hard to back him. I have to see him. His breeding suggests he is very fast, but also might have some steering issues if he is like the others on that cross.

9 Bobcat Bound made 13 starts at 2, but never got it done, although he tackled the best out there many times. He ended the season in a maiden, and didn't get it done there either. He qualified okay to be second to Abbeydorney, and I could see him putting it together right away at a big price.

10 Rock on Line is 0 for 10 and draws the 10 hole. That isn't encouraging. I could see him picking up a slice, but will wait another day for the win slot.